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Obama Camp Hits Back At "Tire Gauge" Rhetoric

The McCain campaign has been trying to drum up media coverage today for its mockery of Barack Obama for calling on Americans to make sure their tires are inflated in order to help save money gas.

Obama said this last week: "There are things that you can do individually though to save energy; making sure your tires are properly inflated, simple thing, but we could save all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling, if everybody was just inflating their tires and getting regular tune-ups. You could actually save just as much."

To spotlight the "inflating their tires" part of the quote, the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee have been handing tire gauges out to reporters in sarcastic celebration of Obama's birthday today.

"...the RNC is providing members of the media with complimentary tools related to Barack Obama's energy plan – a brand new tire gauge," the RNC wrote in a press release this morning. "Because, instead of actually increasing America's domestic oil supply, this is how Obama thinks Americans should try to alleviate burdensome pain at the pump."

The McCain campaign also used the tire gauge gimmick in a fundraising plea today.

"Today, I'm asking for your help in putting Senator Obama's 'tire gauge' energy policy to the test,' McCain campaign manager Rick Davis wrote to potential donors. "With an immediate donation of $25 or more, we will send you an 'Obama Energy Plan' tire pressure gauge. Will simply inflating your tires reduce the financial burden of high gas prices on your wallet?"

Now the Obama campaign has responded to the tire gauge rhetoric.

"As Senator McCain knows, Barack Obama has a comprehensive plan to provide real relief to Americans struggling with soaring prices and make the long-term investments we need to break our addiction to oil," the campaign writes in an email with the subject line "more from the low road." (Here's a story on Obama's speech on energy today, in which he proposed that the government sell 70 million barrels of oil from its strategic petroleum stockpile in a reversal of his previous position.)

"And while the McCain team may is busy amusing themselves, the fact is that the idea they're attacking is supported by, among others, top McCain surrogate Joe Lieberman, conference call host Mike Rogers, Governors Charlie Crist and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Department of Energy, and NASCAR — all of whom have urged Americans to help save energy by minding tire pressure," the Obama team continued in the email. "But hey, who ever let the facts — or supporters' positions — get in the way of a political attack? Aboard the Low Road Express, that's no problem at all."